Storybook Café: A new chapter for a storied space

Storybook co-owner Mackenzie Killmer with her mom, Vincenza

Natalia Zukerman

Storybook Café: A new chapter for a storied space

PINE PLAINS — “The essence of the people that came before us is still here, but with our spin,” said Mackenzie Killmer, the co-owner of the new Storybook Cafe.

“In my lifetime, I can remember it being the Peppermill, The Mountain Cow, The Platter in different variations, and then Rosey’s. And I just really wanted it to be different,” said Killmer.

Storybook Café is different. It’s light and spacious while still being cozy. But Storybook Café is also, thankfully, the same. While Pine Plains has an impressive amount of very good restaurants, the closing of Rosey’s marked the end of the neighborhood coffeeshop, an integral focal point in a small town.

Killmer has had a lifelong dream of opening such a coffeeshop, but she didn’t think it would be for at least another 10 years. The dream took shape unexpectedly, thanks in part to Jamie, the former owner of Rosey’s. As fate would have it, Jamie offered Killmer and her wife, Jess, a chef at Noble Horizons, the lease for Rosey’s, presenting an opportunity too good to pass up.

Killmer and Jess took the plunge. In just four months, they have transformed the space once again into the new, old neighborhood cafe.

“It’s been less than a year since Jamie and I had that conversation,” Killmer mused, “And we’re, like, up and running, and it’s a thing! I’m exhausted because I’m not a morning person,” she laughed. “But it’s all happening.”

Killmer grew up in Pine Plains, where her family owned the beloved Lia’s Mountain View Café, which closed its doors in December 2023 after over 40 years. “I grew up literally at the Mountain View,” said Killmer. “My playpen was in the pizza room. I got off the school bus there. I was the kid that cried at snow days because that meant I’d spend the whole day at the Mountain View.”

Her experience in restaurants has primed Killmer for this new endeavor, making her more than ready for a dream she didn’t think would be a reality for many years. Open for just two weeks, the bookstore/café already has regulars. In fact, there’s a wall of mugs where people can come in and pick out their favorite, giving them a sense of belonging and home. Starting out with breakfast favorites and the usuals, they’re already expanding into a lunch menu because, said Killmer, “That’s what people want.”

Friends and relatives make up the kind and friendly staff, with Killmer’s mother, Vincenza, “Vinny,” behind the counter. They plan on having Lia’s Mountain View-themed menus in the future.

“We’re easing into it,” Killmer sighed, “But come spring, we’re going to do lots of stuff.”

Killmer spoke excitedly about plans for a children’s storytime, poetry readings, book clubs, trivia nights and local author signings, among other events. They’ve already implemented some wonderful programs. Killmer said, “Starting Feb. 1, every month, we’ll have a local charity and 25% of all book sales will get donated to that charity.” Paperbacks are listed at $8, hardcovers are $10, and children get a free book every time they come in. Said Killmer: “I don’t think kids should pay to read, so they can take a book for free, but they have to read it. And that’s the only rule.”

In just two weeks, Storybook Café has become more than a place to grab a cup of coffee; it’s a testament to lifelong dreams realized, community bonds strengthened, and the enduring magic of books. As the pages of this story continue to unfold, Pine Plains is the lucky recipient of a new favorite spot. Killmer shared her excitement and many plans for the future, but most importantly, she shared, “I just want it to be a neighborhood spot for everyone, a place for people to hang out and feel comfortable.”

Storybook Café is located at 2987 Church St. in Pine Plains. It’s open Wednesday through Monday for breakfast. For more information and to book events, email kenzie@storybook-cafe.com. Follow on Instagram and Facebook @StorybookCafeNY

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